Xbox console players who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will have an expanded experience later this year, as Microsoft brings the full cloud gaming platform to Xbox One and Xbox Series devices, bringing the consoles in line with PC and mobile players.
As things stand, Game Pass Ultimate offers players access to a large library of titles, including games on the EA Play service and Fallout/Elder Scrolls studio Bethesda which was a high-profile acquisition for Microsoft in 2020, at no additional cost.
That means that if you fancy trying out, for example, Forza Horizon 4, you can simply download it with your Game Pass subscription and play. Though you might still want to buy it later on to keep access in case the game is de-listed, you don’t need to pay a penny while it’s on Game Pass.
The one small flaw in that process is the word “download”. If you want to give a game a whirl, you’ll need to wait until a significant portion of it has downloaded and installed on your machine before you can boot it up — and that’s where cloud gaming comes into the picture.
With Xbox Cloud Gaming you won’t need to download anything, as the game itself is directly streamed to your console. That means that if you get the urge to play FH4 right now, or any of over 100 games in the Game Pass library that support cloud gaming, you can. This will include racing titles like Wreckfest, art of rally, DIRT 5, and of course Forza Horizon 4 and — when it launches — Forza Horizon 5.
For Xbox One players, the deal is even more interesting. Players will be able to stream any eligible game regardless of the console used — so even Series-exclusive titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator are available on the One through cloud gaming
At present Microsoft hasn’t given any indications on bandwith limitations required to access Xbox Cloud Gaming, however we can get a broad idea from the similar game-streaming Google Stadia platform. Google recommends a minimum 10Mbps for 720p playback, with 35Mbps or more required for 4K. As Microsoft is only supporting up to 1080p60, a bandwidth of around 30Mbps should ensure everything runs smoothly.
The Xbox Cloud Gaming service will roll out to the Xbox Insider program in the next couple of months, with a full launch scheduled for “holiday 2021”.
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